FERN’s Friday Feed: Little fish, big problems

FERN’s Friday Feed: Little fish, big problems

Welcome to FERN’s Friday Feed (#FFF), where we share the stories from this week that made us stop and think.


In Alaska, tribes fight to preserve their herring culture

FERN and The Nation

“Every spring for thousands of years, as migrating Pacific herring arrive along Alaska’s southeastern coast, Native harvesters have cast young hemlock trees and their branches into the sea to attract fish in search of a place to spawn. Days later, the harvesters return to collect thousands of pounds of eggs. It’s the highlight of the year, the first fresh food after a long dark winter,” writes Brett Simpson. “Today, their subsistence harvest accounts for less than 1 percent of the herring roe taken in Sitka. Japanese buyers have dominated the fishery here since their own herring population was decimated by overfishing in the 1960s … This hyper-specific export market is also extremely wasteful. Seiners … scoop up entire schools of herring, male and female alike, but sell only the eggs of mature females, usually over six years old.”


Big Ag fights SEC rules to boost corporate climate transparency

Inside Climate News

“Over the past year the Securities and Exchange Commission … has proposed rules that would help investors get better, more transparent information about companies’ ‘green’ investing claims and would push large, publicly traded companies to reveal the impacts of climate change on their businesses,” writes Georgina Gustin. “Advocates for these changes say they’re crucial for investors and for the country’s future financial health … The oil and gas industry does not agree, nor do the industry’s most reliable allies: agribusinesses and the powerful lobbying groups that represent them, including the American Farm Bureau Federation.”


‘Fighting for inches’ in the Southeast’s struggle with salt

Circle of Blue

“All along the southeastern Atlantic coast,” writes Hanna Richter, “[s]torm events are getting steadily more intense. Atlantic sea levels are rising three to four times faster than the global ocean average. Land is subsiding at rates greater than 1 millimeter per year. All of it converges around a leading threat to coastal farmers: salt water is ruining their land … Thousands of acres are already unable to be farmed, and despite promising adaptation strategies, sea level rise is projected to drown tens of thousands of acres of farmland within the century.”


Africa’s cold rush and the promise of refrigeration

The New Yorker

“The International Institute of Refrigeration estimates that, globally, 1.6 billion tons of food are wasted every year, and that thirty per cent of this could be saved by refrigeration,” writes Nicola Twilley. “In a country like Rwanda … such wastage is a matter of life and death. Rwanda is one of the poorest countries in the world: the gross per-capita income is currently $2.28 a day, and more than a third of children under five are stunted from malnutrition … Nonetheless, President Paul Kagame’s government has pledged to transform Rwanda into a high-income country by 2050; recently, it has come to realize that this goal cannot be achieved without refrigeration.”



In California’s Bay-Delta, water rights are civil rights

The Guardian

“In the … watershed formed by the two mighty rivers at the heart of California’s water system – the Sacramento and the San Joaquin – signs of worsening climate conditions intensify year after year,” writes Gabrielle Canon. “Much of the crisis is caused by climate breakdown, but decades of overuse have made issues worse as larger shares of water are diverted to supply agricultural land and urban consumption. Now, a coalition of Indigenous nations, frontline communities and environmentalists has come together, hoping to spur state water officials to secure not just their water rights but their civil rights. The two, they say, are inextricably tied. ‘Everything we need comes from the river,’ says Malissa Tayaba, a leader in the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. ‘Water is alive. And we can’t live without it.’”